Are You OD-ing on Healthy Nutrients?

You know that things like fiber and omega-3s are good for you, but consuming them in excess just isn’t necessary—and your calorie count could be spent in other ways

December 9, 2010
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Every health guru will tell you to load up on antioxidants, fiber, and omega-3s, but as is the case with most everything in life, you can have too much of a good thing. A healthy balance of nutrients will help keep your weight down and your body strong, but flooding your system with 1000 percent of your daily-recommended intake of vitamin C will hardly give you a nutritional edge. Plus, downing two servings of a sugary smoothie for the sake of its nutrients can saddle you with extra calories.

Instead, maximize the health benefits of your diet without over-taxing your belly. Here's a breakdown of what your body actually needs, and how you can get these healthy nutrients in appropriate quantities.

two glasses of chocolate milk
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Vitamin D

Benefits: Builds strong bones, may reduce your risk for obesity, colorectal and breast cancer, and certain auto-immune diseases

Too much: May cause kidney stones, constipation, nausea

Aim for: 5 micrograms/day

Equivalent to: About 1 oz smoked salmon (size of your thumb), 2 cups low-fat chocolate milk,  2/3 can of light tuna fish packed in water

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Benefits: Builds strong bones, controls muscle contractions, boosts heart health, may reduce your risk for breast cancer

Too much: May cause stomach pain, constipation, muscle aches 

Aim for: 1000 mg/day

Equivalent to: About 2 cups of plain nonfat yogurt, ¾ cup Whole Grain Total cereal

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Benefits: Helps lower blood pressure, keeps you regular, may help you lose weight

Too much: Can lead to gas, bloating, stomach cramps

Aim for: 25 g/day (women); 31 g/day (men)

Equivalent to: About 1 1/3 cups navy beans, 1 cup bran cereal, 4 ½ pears

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Benefits: Lowers triglycerides, improves heart health, and boosts mood

Too much: Can increase your risk for bleeding

Aim for: 1.1 g/day (women); 1.6 g/day (men)

Equivalent to: About 3.5 oz of salmon, ¾ Tbsp flaxseed, 6 walnuts

orange juice
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Vitamin C

Benefits: Helps heal wounds, strengthens your immune system, may lower your risk for certain cancers

Too much: Can lead to nausea, diarrhea, stomach cramps

Aim for: 75 mg/day (women); 90 mg/day (men)

Equivalent to: About ½ cup of orange juice, 1/3 cup sweet red pepper,  2 sips of an Odwalla C-Monster

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Vitamin A

Benefits: Helps your vision and bone growth, wards off infection

Too much: Headache, dizziness, blurry vision, coordination problems

Aim for: 0.7 mg/day (women); 0.9 mg/day (men)

Equivalent to: About ¾ of a medium baked sweet potato, ¾ cup carrots

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Test Your Healthy Eating Smarts

Slim down by eating right. Learn more about the best foods to fuel your body.


Tags: nutrition